The Live Artist as Archaeologist – Amanda Dobbin

After reading both readings by Amelia Jones, I was extremely intrigued by performance art. To start off, performance art is something that I have never heard of before, nor considered to be within the realms of “normal art.” With that said, the idea that making something come alive, reproducing a production and engaging viewers into the actual performance is thrilling and ultimately very interesting.

Marina is an ideal example who uses performance in her work of art. Specifically on page 561, Marina states “When people see performers, they always try to make a hero out of you, always try to glorify you or make you this icon, which actually you can’t live up to. But in my work, I’m just showing everything that is imperfect” (561). This exact quote from Marina stood out to me for a couple of reasons and allowed me to understand her type of performance art in a more clear way. As said, when watching a production, there is a preconceived and expected connotation that there is supposed to display someone being a hero and ending with a happy note. Marina, within her work, attempts to go against these exact norms by using the negatives in her life in order to produce her work and show everyone that everything isn’t perfect. Therefore, this additionally correlates to the idea of performance art in itself. If one can go back and edit their previous performances until they display what they want to display, there is a sense of showing that a production is not perfect. That is where the line of documentation and performance separate. As Marina says on page 564, “Documentation will never replace live performance” (564). Evidently, even though documentation somewhat falls under the category of performance, performance art is a type of production that can take on different environments, different people and be re-created multiple times.

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